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Writing a Helpful On-Line Review

In July, I posed the question whether or not it’s a good idea as a business owner to respond to online reviews. The article offered tips on handling feedback in order to turn around the potential damage of negative input. However, the writers can take some steps to ensure that their comments are read and taken seriously. A well-written review about an experience will benefit both the business owner and potential customers. Here are some tips on how to present your concerns in a helpful manner.

First, as hard as it can be, do your best to keep emotion out of your message. You’ve probably cringed at some reviews that are clearly a venting session over a bad experience. While the writer may feel better after posting, these tend to not be very helpful and not accomplish change. Presenting your the problem in a factual manner is much more effective and establishes you as a concerned poster. Be precise and accurate.

If you want to be listened to, don’t exaggerate the experience. Statements like, “it took forever to get our order” is not helpful as “it took about 45 minutes for our order to be served” or “I spent 20 minutes on hold”. In addition, as you tell your story, keep in mind the length and the short attention span of readers. Do your best to state the exact time and day of your experience. This helps the business owner identify the employees that may have been involved or periods during the day where staffing is too low and affecting customer satisfaction. Include the product you ordered, purchased or couldn’t find. If it was service like customer support, include what you were trying to accomplish. Explain your expectations and how they weren’t fulfilled. Be specific as to why you gave the rating including what stood out to make the experience exceptional or dissatisfactory. Finally, give your opinion on how your experience could have been better including suggestions for improvements.

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Keep in mind that if there is a specific issue to work out, talking to a manager at the business is a good first approach. Giving them a chance to provide a solution to the problem may provide better results. And if you have had a great experience at a business, remember to share it in a review too.

Written by Ted Saul, Sr. Staff Writer

Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing

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